Hadxaikhao waterfall: a sight not to be missed

For Visit Laos-China Year 2019, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images promoting the two countries’ collaboration in tourism and hoping to inspire more people, especially from China, to experience the nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, the jewel of the Mekong.

A group of monks visits the falls.

Many people were shocked to learn that there were waterfalls at the foot of the hills in the village of Kern, about 60 kilometres north of Vientiane.
Today, the beauty of these cascades is not only recommended by friends, but has been widely referred to on social media after developers made the site more accessible a few years ago.
Scores of people in Vientiane never knew until recently that these stunning waterfalls existed, believing such a sight could only be viewed in Luang Prabang, Champassak or Oudomxay provinces.
From June to December, the falls here are spectacular as there is plenty of water and the sound it makes can be heard both day and night.
Last week, a group of nearly 10 people from Vientiane Times visited the waterfall after seeing enticing images on Facebook.
I was part of this group, which set off in a minibus at about 9:30am last Friday. After about an hour we arrived at a place where our ears told us the waterfall was in full flow. The falls can be found on the way to Kern village, passing through the village of Thangone.
At Kern village we turned right at the 37km intersection. Soon afterwards the green Khaokhuay mountains came into view some distance away to our left.
It seemed that the falls were not far from where we parked the minibus on the road so we got out and walked. In fact, the waterfalls are close to the foothills but we couldn’t see them.
We asked some villagers about the best place to go and they told us that 15km away there were a few very attractive waterfalls.
But there were also some cascades alongside the road, which links Xaythany and Pakngum districts.
Hadxaikhao waterfall was one of the few places that we visited. Viewed from a distance, it is a broad, meandering stream that winds its way down through the hills from far away, making a gradual descent.
It was indeed a beautiful sight and worthy of all the praise heaped upon it by social commentators. It was a pleasure to see the water running freely over boulders and to hear the animated gushing sound as it bounced off the rocks.
Huts have been built alongside the cascade where people can stay but few of them were occupied during our visit. Maybe that was because it was not a weekend.
The man responsible for developments at the waterfall, Mr Bounmy Khutthita, told Vientiane Times that there are usually are not many people visiting from Monday to Friday but that it gets crowded on Saturdays and Sundays.
“On average, we get about 1,000 visitors a week here,” he said.
There are currently 25 huts but more are planned to accommodate the growing number of visitors.
There are several waterfalls in this area, but Mr Bounmy said with a smile that on weekends lots of people visit this place in particular because Hadxaikhao waterfall is close to Pha Bath El Khan temple.
Both the waterfall and the temple are about 15km from the junction with Road No. 10 to Pakngum district. When people come to worship the Buddha image at the temple, they also spend time at the falls.
Reasonably priced food is also available including traditional favourites such as grilled chicken and fish, papaya salad and bamboo soup. 
Visitors are also required to pay for use of the huts, with charges ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 kip depending on the size.
It is not permitted to drink beer brought from elsewhere, as beer is on sale at the waterfall.
Make sure you pay a visit to this hidden gem sometime in the near future. You will be pleased you did!

By Khonsavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update July 9, 2019)

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